The Art of Science: Mark Dion’s Marine Invertebrates


Andy Warhol famously said that “Art is what you can get away with.” It seems a good definition for this sculpture by renowned American artist Mark Dion.  The piece, Marine Invertebrates, is made up of dog toys and sex toys displayed in specimen bottles, as if in an old-fashioned natural history museum.

The toys, which bear an uncanny resemblance to real marine invertebrates,  continue Dion’s exploration of the ways that museums and other institutions shape our views of nature.   A show of his work, including this piece, is on exhibit at the Tonya Bonakdar gallery in New York city through April 13.

According to the gallery website, “Appropriating archaeological and other scientific methods of collecting, ordering, and exhibiting objects, Dion creates works that question the distinctions between objective (rational) scientific methods and subjective (irrational) influences. The artist’s spectacular and often fantastical curiosity cabinets, modeled on Wunderkabinetts of the 16th Century, exalt atypical orderings of objects and specimens….Mark Dion questions the authoritative role of the scientific voice in contemporary society.” (source)

On a less philosophical plane, my personal responses to this artwork were (in objective, rational, scientific order): 1. Hahahahahaha! 2. OMG that is amazing. 3. Damn, I wish I had thought of that.

More information on the Dion exhibit and his other works are at the Tonya Bonakdar Gallery website.

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